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The global trade system faces an important turning point at the end of this year, one that was postponed when China joined the World Trade Organization almost 15 years ago.NME status made it a lot easier for importing countries to impose special tariffs on Chinese exports, in the form of anti-dumping duties.The global trade regime has to address issues of fairness, in addition to economic efficiency. When domestic firms must compete with, say, Chinese firms that are financially supported by a government with deep pockets, the playing field becomes tilted in ways that most would consider unacceptable. So the anti-dumping regime has a political logic.Trade policymakers are deeply familiar with this logic, which is why the anti-dumping regime exists in its current form, enabling relatively easy protection. Trade with countries that have very different economic, social and political models raises genuine concerns about legitimacy. Refusal to acknowledge such concerns not only undermines these trade relationships; it also jeopardizes the legitimacy of the entire global trade regime.Trade disputes with China and other countries are an opportunity for airing – rather than repressing – these issues, and thus taking an important step toward democratizing the world's trade regime.
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